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Monday, January 31, 2005

Compare and contrast - penultimate (?) 

I think this is probably going to be my last comparison post until after the admit events when I can properly assess fit and also look at other issues once I've asked some questions and considered the answers.

The other big issues I haven't written about yet is looking at what I want to do post-MBA and the relative advantages of the schools when it comes to that.

In the medium-term, I know that I want to be back in the non-profit sector. In the shorter term, I'm interested in management consulting - very interested in consulting specifically in the nfp sector, but open to more general commercial consulting. So I'm going in keeping those two threads in mind. Looking at the career and recruiting stats, both schools are recruited at by the big name consulting firms. There look to be slightly more, relatively speaking, internships and full-time offers at Wharton, but it's so slight a difference that I'm not sure that it's significant. One difference in recruiting practice is that at Kellogg 50% of interview places are available for open bidding, at Wharton it looks like individual firms determine the ratio of open to closed slots. Recruiting to non-profits is a different beast, but I'm not seeing anything to suggest that one school has much advantage over the other. It will be interesting to talk to students about their experiences.

I've also looked at the relative approaches to international students. I'm working on the basis that I'm coming back to the UK post-MBA. Apart from anything else, I know that I'm always going to have the right to live and work here (hopefully that's not making too many unwarranted assumptions about future Government policy). I'm keeping myself open to all possibilities though. The Kellogg careers website points out that it is extremely difficult for international students to get jobs and permission to work in the US (which is fair enough) and basically seems to be saying "don't even think about it", although not in so many words. The Wharton site has some specific advise to employers on work permissions and international students, which suggests that there might be a bit more support should I find myself wanting to work in the US for a while. In general, there's more immediately accessible information available on Wharton's career management office than on Kellogg's. It's interesting to see that Wharton has someone with a specific remit for students with 8+ years' experience, and also that the same person covers consulting and public-interest.

Student activities and alumni networks are both also important when it comes to careers and recruiting, and both schools look strong when it comes to these.

So, once again, I'm not finding a whole lot of immediately obvious advantages or disadvantages of one school over the other. Maybe talking to students will show up some differences in this and other areas.

The last part of the whole compare and contrast thing will be fit, and that's going to wait until three weeks from now, by which time I'll have done both admit events. And it is fit which I think is going to be the deciding factor. As long as my brain is convinced that an option is 'good enough', I think it will be happy to go along with what feels most right. Whereas my gut (or heart, or liver, depending on preference) will be less amenable to giving way to logic if one place feels more right than the other.

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